Reestablishing a pond abandoned for 15 years - Sludge control


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Hello all. This is my first post to this forum. I am having a problem with removing sludge.

Our new house has about a 300 gallon pond in the front yard which per our neighbors has not been used for 15-20 years. The pond includes a stream from house to street. The pump and everything still work which is amazing and the water flows well after I repulled up the liner sides of the stream. I drained as much water out as I could with a sump pump and manually scooped out as much sludge and pea gravel as I could, down to the liner until I could not feel or see any more. I did not move aside many of the big rocks and look around them for sludge. After refilling with water I added beneficial bacteria / sludge remover "powder" and sprinkled it in as instructed. The pond was basically a mud puddle with the remains of 15 years of broken down leaves, untouched. Two weeks after filling the pond, I added maybe 5 small submerged plants and lilies to help with oxygen and pond health.

Where I am at now is that the pond water is still extremely murky and I cannot see beyond maybe 8 inches. I reach in every other day to feel for sludge and keep finding buildups under the waterfall and sludge collecting around the plants. I scoop it out with my hand as best as I can without removing the water. It has now been almost 2 months since pond reestablishment, and the water clarity has not improved very much. My guess is that the stream keeps flowing dirt downwards into the pond and the sludge I was unable to find behind rocks is making its way out.

My main question is, how long do you think it should take for beneficial bacteria, aeration, and plants to work their magic and to start seeing cleaner water? Over time do you think I will see results if I wait it out? Or is a handful of sludge a week too much for beneficial bacteria to handle and does it need a more complete cleanout?
 
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I should add that I am located in Portland, Oregon and the weather here in spring has been in the 60s up to 80 Fahrenheit. The pump is likely an older version than what is available today. I currently have no formal filter, I use my hand-held net to catch floating debris each day. My hopes are that the stream (which is about 25 feet long filled with river rocks) acts as a natural water filter.
 
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Welcome, Ben! What a project! You know -- we all want some pictures!!!! My guess is that you just need some patience. That is probably more useful than beneficial bacteria. When the plants really start growing, I would guess that they will chow down on the nutrients provided by that sludge. I am a newbie myself, but I really do think the most valuable tool a pond owner can have is patience. But see what the others have to say. Maybe they will have some hints. Good luck -- and please post some pictures! :)
 
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Welcome
And yes pictures please
You should consider a prefilter before the water empties to the waterfall. That way the sludge is captured before re-entering the pond. You can make a temporary filter with a milk crate and batting material then set it where the water will get to the falls
 

addy1

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Welcome to our group! Quilt batting works great filtering fine debris.
 
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Thanks everyone. I will post a picture shortly. I read about quilt batting and am interested in trying it I think. I like the comment about having patience, I know it can only get better and not worse over time having introduced some oxygen to the water. The caveat is that I am not necessarily willing to wait a year or more for the water to start looking a little more clear!
 
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Here is a picture of the front of my pond.
 

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Here is a picture of the front of my pond.
nice pond to greet you when you get home
Does the waterfall start all the way in the back past the fence? if so, you could probably get a temporary filter back there so as to not be an eye sore.
 
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nice pond to greet you when you get home
Does the waterfall start all the way in the back past the fence? if so, you could probably get a temporary filter back there so as to not be an eye sore.

The stream starts near that pile of rocks before the fence. It just circles up and down the front yard. I like the idea of a filter back there versus in the pond! I was worried a filter would not fit as the pond is not huge and it could not be easily hidden.
 

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